Nights like this…

Tonight I’m sleepless and trying to exorcise the demons in my head. J and I have just talked and I love love love the smooth, sweet drawl of his voice. That voice anchors me whilst I’m feeling strange.

I’ve been a little dissociative tonight. I’ve been at Saturday family tea- the whole clan, aunties, uncles, cousins- the lot. My auntie was babysitting her best friend’s daughter, who is a shining gem of a seven year old. She played with the puppy, a rare event- Juno puppy is not the world’s biggest fan of children, but this little girl is an old head on young shoulders. She let me read to her. She cuddled up with me and the puppy, her on my knee and the puppy beside me. I felt very safe, but somehow a little sad.

I think what’s triggered me a little is talking about my ex to her. My auntie was married to her abuser, and this little girl knows a highly edited version of that story. She calls him Naughty, so we all do too. We had gone upstairs in my nana’s house to see one of the many family portraits hanging on the walls, and she mentioned to me that she knew that Naughty was a bad guy because HIS smile was not a good smile. All the other people on the picture had big, happy, truthful smiles, she said. Only Naughty’s wasn’t right.

That really hit me hard. SHE could see, through our eyes, the flaw in him, the defect that ate at his core and caused such harm to my auntie that she ended up in hospital, too. She knew, this seven year old, that there was a man not to be trusted- and she could see that through his smile!

She asked why my auntie had even married him in the first place, so I explained that sometimes, the scariest baddies are the ones that pretend to be your best friend. I said that I had been with a naughty man, for six years.

The wise, innocent little face formed an expression I’ve mostly seen on adult faces: she was appreciating how hard that was for me.

“Whew,” she said, “that’s a long time.”

I said that yes, indeed it was, but he hadn’t started out bad. He’d pretended to be one of the good guys, and I had never seen the badness coming at all. He’d added the bad stuff in, bit by bit, until I didn’t know that he was all bad.

Looking at those feathery blonde brows rise in shock, I was struck with an intense desire to protect her. I would have jumped in front of a bullet for that child, and I still will. I would right now. I didn’t want that angelic creature to have to face what my auntie and I have faced- the sleepless nights thinking he is perfect and I am not, the agony inside as he breaks up with you and demands you back only for the cycle to repeat. I felt something tearing inside of me in my chest- my heart was trying to reach through my chest to keep her safe.

Talking to Dr K, my therapist, on Thursday may have stirred a lot up- I was trying to tell her about some of the things I’ve had to endure under him- but this has made me remember long nights waiting by the phone, worrying about ringing him in case it ‘wasn’t convenient right now’. I’d get yelled at if I didn’t ring at bang on ten pm. I feel like time is slipping backwards, like having a rug pulled out from under your feet. I remember the feeling in arguments, that bad feeling of ‘I’m losing you and it’s my fault and you knew I was going to say that, oh god why?!’

I’ve found a song that sums it all up. He never drove, but the car keys are symbolic. They are the keys to my heart, my freedom, my life. They are the things that drove me and the things he took control of, bit by bit. Those phonecalls I tried to make that he aborted with one stern word. The threats of all sorts, the demands, and finally go to sleep silly girl, we’re getting nowhere tonight. I would try not to get too upset but tears inevitably burned my cheeks, that acid tang, and the feeling of being about to throw up came when he called me pathetic. I was trying so hard. I was. I promise I’m trying so hard to be different and more like the girl you wanted me to be, the girl I was when you met me. I promise I won’t go to anyone with my problems, definitely not you, I’ll solve them myself. I know I’m weak and need to stop being such a little girl I promise I won’t do this again I swear I’m not going to hurt you I didn’t mean to oh god don’t say that to me I’m not like that I swear I’m not-

The loop plays on and on, and I drown it out with other things. But, in the background, it’s always there, along with his replies.

Admitted Part Ten- more journal.

I felt like my journal was a lifeline in hospital. TRIGGER WARNING- I had a flashback and I write about certain things that might upset fellow PTSD-ers.

 

25th/26th April, 00:34

Updates on life! I haven’t written in a little while.

So last night at 10:00 pm, (meds time), I got restless and upset. The dark passenger was on at me to bash my head against a brick wall until I lost consciousness, and they were angry that I had no blade to hurt myself with. They told me I wasn’t allowed to sleep, and they made me pace up and down until Matron spotted me. Rocker stopped to help first, then Matron came to sort me out along with Sunbeam and Foxglove, two of the other patients. I had to wait for what felt like ages with my brain on fire whilst Matron finished off what she was doing, then took me into the ladies’ lounge.

I felt like I was going crazy again. My head was burning with the weight of the three voices. I was strung-out and exhausted, ready to flip. I did cry, I did shake, but Matron explained she was going to give me some promazine. I freaked a bit, seeing as that stupid psych tried to stick me on it before. Thing is, when you get explained what the drug does, what the rare side effects might be, and you need help, you swallow that shit down and chase it with water, then wait and hope.

Oh god. Best night’s sleep EVER. Like since America sort of good. As if my J was lying beside me. In fact, J called and we had a great chat, and he laughed when I said I felt tipsy! It was great to hear him feeling better. Also, Mr Robot called whilst drunk to tell me I was awesome, and to please survive. I promised him I would. I told R all about my day when she rang, too. R called first, then Mr Robot, then J, then I crashed.

This morning, I felt brave and calm when I woke up and I talked to Rita the Coach Driver about what my ex did to me, but I think I pushed myself a bit too much. I had this terrible, terrible panic attack/flashback in the shower. I felt hands all over me again, was waiting to hear his voice, and the voices told me I would never be clean again after this. I scratched my skin so hard I left marks, and I had to run from the shower room back to mine. I was terrified and sobbing. I didn’t want the men on the ward to come anywhere near me, when usually I’m kind of ok with it.

One of the nurses came doing a check (they do them every hour) and she asked if I was ok. I told her what had happened and she said to get dressed adn come out of my room to try and calm down.

I threw my clothes on super fast and got out, and ended up talking to one of the nurses. She’s so sweet. I think she is either from Botswana or Nigeria, cause her voice reminds me of Ma Ramotswe. I let her know how freaked out and upset I was, and she talked to me until I felt calmer.

The rest of the day was spent with Pixie doing art, my amazing family (still doing art and they joined in) and I saw my friend Sunbeam again. Vincent Van Gogh had a flip-out at midday and it frightened me- we were all in the garden and he got loud and argumentative over Sunbeam’s phone, and I dropped my trowel and ran. PTSD is sometimes useful, it stopped me from being in a bad situation, but I was still frightened. I got better though by doing more art- Pixie came and let me know I could just keep going.

Tonight, I heard the dark passenger again. They’re pissed beyond reason that I asked for help like this. They still want me dead, adn I am still frightened about the future. Thing is, I have a lot of people rooting for me. J called tonight and said he was PROUD of me for being in hospital, because it’s the right place for me to be whilst I’m still struggling with all of this.

I also handed a pin back to its owner- a badge Van Gogh gave me. I gave it to the guy who owned it and he was pleased and surprised to have it back.

I am still worried. The dark passenger is still awake and I am too. I just want to cling to what J said tonight and the way he makes me feel. He filled me with happiness and made all my skin buzz with excitement. He makes me feel human, not like a frightened rabbit.

Ugh. Still not tired. Thanks, dark passenger.

I have a new journal after this dies out- there are so few pages! I can’t get over how much I have written.

OK, I’m going to try to sleep. I need it, but not sure I can. Gonna try and wind down with my other journal.

Admitted Part Nine- more journal.

I did carry on. Here is what I wrote.

 

25th April, 11:13.

Just did the psychology group- I feel fucking vindicated. People who have been cruelly abused are being given the diagnosis of BPD/EUPD.

Why is this archaic, victim-blaming, wooly-criteria-ed diagnosis STILL being given out to vulnerable people?! For Christ’s sake, do the psychs not see they are taking the place of the abuser and making everything OUR fault again?

“Because your personality is disordered, you were abused. Nothing will change you. You will always be in the ‘crazy pile’, you will always have unsuitable relationships. Really, you’re a fuck-up, but we don’t have enough actual solid criteria to fully diagnose this supposedly rare condition, but that doesn’t mean we won’t slap it on you and shove you full of drugs. Now take your fucking pill and shut up.”

That, right there, is abuse. This diagnosis should be put an end to, and realised for what it REALLY is- PTSD. If you were abused, dear Lord, it was NOT YOUR FAULT!

Why is that so hard to understand?!

The voices are a bit quieter right now. Fingers crossed they stay that way.

Admitted- the beginning- Part Seven.

I said when I got out I would write up my journal entries. Here goes the first one.

April 24th, 17:31.

Voices are on at me still non-stop. Being admitted. The mental health nurse said that I was a concern. Dr K got me to come here because she was worried for me.

The RAID team got called (Rapid Response mental health team) and now I’m waiting for a bed.

The voices are so angry with me! They want me to die so much. I don’t want to kill myself but they keep wanting me to.

I really hope this fixes some of this or I might die.

April 25th, 00:59.

I have been admitted.

I’m absolutely exhausted. I want to sleep but my brain is on fire, so I’ll be writing until I feel a bit more tired.

I’ve been taken to A&E before, like I’ve written, but I’m not sure it’s ever been as stressful as this. I was in such a state with Dr K at my appointment, she taught me some breathing techniques with a relaxation technique, then she rang the RAID team to let them know I was heading across. She talked to mum, too, and we got to A&E (ER for my American readers). The lovely Triage nurse saw me and told me that they would keep me safe. That was nice. Right then, I felt anything but.

The good part about being assessed was that I didn’t have to keep saying all the bad stuff in front of my mum. I felt believed, respected and valued.

I’m in Ward 3- have my own room with a little ensuite toilet. Not sure how I managed that but it helps with the paranoia. It’s a mixed ward but the men can’t come down here, so that’s a bit relief.

I saw the consultant- she was very kind. She has taken my blood and done a full mental health assessment on me.

I rang R and J. Both were awesome. Told Mr Robot about all of this too, and Harley Quinn and Y.

Oh, I think I actually feel tired now. I will end up writing more tomorrow.

Suicide is taking over my head again.

Yeah, I was doing better today and then this evening hit and I am drained. Drained and tired. I do feel weak, and I wonder which one of the pantheon is currently fucking with my life. It’s very strange- I’m tired, physically pretty exhausted, but I know that mentally I am on fire.

I self harmed in a small way two days ago. I took a pencil sharpener blade to my ankle. 8 fucking months of recovery down the drain, and although the cuts are in no way deep, they are definitely there. Real. Solid. Unlike me.

Why am I doing this loop of feeling again? I am permanently stuck here, these cycling thoughts trotting through my head in relentless torrents. Then, of course, there are the voices of the dark passenger, which is demanding I kill myself in May.

I have a puppy to look after. She is nearly six months old. I have J, who is stressed out but still with me and planning to see me in August. I have a family that loves me, I have friends that are proving they care by talking about the voices with me (thanks, Mr Robot. You’re a star,) and I have my gran and uncle from down south coming to visit soon. I have things planned for the future- a massage course in May (huh, fucking irony) and I want to get back to America as soon as I can.

Problem is, on evenings like this, every fucking one of these things is nothing to the dark passenger and its voices will shred each one to pieces. I am seriously worried that I am going to do something awful soon. I don’t want to end up in hospital again, where they tell you that they can’t help you and then shove a self-help leaflet at you or drugs that give you crippling headaches down your throat. Then they accuse you of being the reason your ex abused you, telling you that you will never get better, giving you a bullshit, outdated, chauvinistic “diagnosis” of BPD (remember, folks, it is PTSD misdiagnosed and should not even exist) and shove you into the “fucked-up crazy bitch” pile.

Next comes the promises of help. Ah, what, you mean the help I have been denied for A MOTHERFUCKING YEAR?! Try that on for size. I have fucking PTSD and it took you A FUCKING YEAR to diagnose this shit when I had been suspecting it back when I started this blog?!!

Then what about the Promazine? Yeah, that shit you told me was supposed to be a sedative? Balls, it’s a strong antipsychotic that would turn me into a fucking zombie. Worse, a zombie with a godawful headache cause of the stupid fucking Citalopram… No more drugs for me, thanks. I have stopped taking the Citalopram and I never even cashed in the prescription for the Promazine. No way. Stop trying to sedate me. I wanted help, not sedation.

The problem is that now I think it’s too late. I am really stuck in the PTSD patterns of waiting for the next blow and feeling unreal and detached. I permanently look for him in the street. I sleep and I dream of him. I try and pull myself up time and again and it all goes to shit because I can’t do it, because when I asked for help LAST FUCKING MAY I never got it. I have been waiting and waiting and basically now I am unfixable, and the voices are aware of that and love to let me know that I am broken forever.

I hate the way I think at the moment. I miss the me I was when I was with J in America. I loved the feeling of freedom from my PTSD bullshit.

Now I just have a life that I can’t control. I am broken and limping on towards a finish line that doesn’t exist, tattered heart and lungs rotting and dripping from my open chest cavity to the ground. I don’t have a choice.

I probably will die in May. It’s looking likely that I will do it. I tied a fucking ligature round my neck the other day. I am tired of life.

I am sorry I am throwing you away, J. I can’t tell you how I feel because programming and the dark passenger gag me, shutting my mouth so tight I can only let out the blandest of sentences. I am a wreck, and I wish I wasn’t, so then maybe I could care for you better. I can’t even say those three words because my ex fucked them up for me. How could I have loved my ex when he manipulated me into it? How could he have loved me if he raped me?

The answer is he never did, and the other sad fact of this is that I should tell you, J, how much I do L word you. I do. I have since I saw your face in Florida for the first time. Problem is, I am broken and I am breaking more, and one day I will collapse.

Apparently that day will come in May.

I don’t want to die, but how can I live with all this shit stacked against me? PTSD is a demon.

She is a true friend

I found this waiting for me when I woke up this morning. Sometimes I feel like she is the older sister and I am the younger one.

I had a panic attack and cried myself to sleep last night. My anaesthesia is wearing off- i managed not to self harm again but i think i face a bigger challenge with a shower today. I don’t want to do anything. I just want to get back in bed and die.

I knew this was going to happen. I’ve been dreading today because I’m alone in the house- my mum is taking my gran back to hers down south, dad is at work and my sister is at college. I feel like I’m the weak link here- no job, no house, no car, no prospects and a drain on my parents. Why can i not just be normal? Why is it such an effort to be anything else but down?

I wish I had the answers.

I’ll try and write the rest of my story soon. I know these posts have interrupted it but I needed to vent, and to get up my courage to tell the next part. Thank you for sticking by me, and for following me.

History repeats itself

So where was I…

I ran into a freezing November night in 2006. I had less than a tenth of my reason left. I was quite literally insane.
I barely remember that night at all- I supposed it was my brain’s way of cushioning me from the shock, but I’m not sure now (for reasons I will explain later). I just ran.
I found myself “waking up” at three seperate times. The first was when a nice guy asked me how long I’d been at the ballet school I was at (he’d seen the logo on my thin cotton dance jacket) and asked whether I was ok. I said no in the smallest of voices so he wouldn’t hear. The second time was finding both hands curled around a railing of a bridge and one foot on the side, ready to jump. I don’t know what made me climb down. Thirdly, I remember staring at cars, wondering which to jump in front of.

I finally ended up in a pub doorway. There was blaring noise and such a riot inside, happy normal functional people enjoying themselves, that I flinched each time the door opened. I came to with tears on my cheeks, and unbelievably enough, my mobile and keys.

I listened to every single frightened voicemail message from my mum, who was in London that night to see me- I’d got so distressed I’d forgotten. I rang her, and she and my angelic friend from the floor above drove to get me- my friend’s boyfriend provided himself and his banged up van as a rescue car.

I was delirious, hypothermic and burned-out. I chattered nonsense all the way home (so I’m told) and fell into an exhausted sleep at the digs. I’d run a hell of a way across London, and I’m surprised I didn’t do myself more damage than I did- it was -2 when I ran, and gods knew how cold when I was rescued.

I didn’t go to the doctor for this.

Why not, I hear you cry?

Well, folks… It’s because in the world of classical ballet, admitting that there is anything wrong with you is a ticket to being fired. Physical injuries are bad enough- watch “The Agony and the Ecstasy” to find out how little classical ballet dancers are regarded in their own profession. Now, put that amount of derision and anger into the context of a mental health problem, but make sure you add a healthy pinch of misunderstanding and fear into the mix. That is what I faced from a less than understanding school.

I got expelled for being crazy. I could work to the end of the year, and then I had to leave.

Now tell me ballet is a nice, cushy career, and that pointe shoes don’t hurt, because I needed to hear that just one more time.

Everyone who has read this, or followed me: thank you unendingly for your patience and support.